MJBiz - March/April 2024 - 8

FROM THE EDITOR Omar Sacirbey
Expertise Wanted
Fixing a hemp-derived cannabinoid market created by ignorance
By Omar Sacirbey
C
ongress suffers from
a dearth of scientific
knowledge that
compromises the safety of
American consumers and the
integrity of U.S. businesses.
Consider federal lawmakers'
failure to better regulate deadly
opioids or to forge a better
response to COVID-19. Those two
crises alone have cost millions
of lives in the United States in
recent years.
The cannabis industry and its
consumers also are hurt by the
lack of scientific expertise in the
federal government, something
evident in the overnight success
of intoxicating hemp-derived
cannabinoids.
Of the 541 members of the
115th Congress that passed the
2018 Farm Bill, there was just one
chemist and one microbiologist,
according to a Congressional
Research Service report. No one
else with botanical or chemistry
expertise was empowered to
vote on the 530-page legislation
or catch the loopholes related to
hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Did Congress at least consult
hemp scientists or other experts
in hemp?
" They most certainly did not, "
said Chris Hudalla, founder
and chief scientific officer
of ProVerde Laboratories in
Massachusetts.
By contrast, that Congress
had dozens of lawyers, business
owners, insurance agents, real
estate brokers, educators and
other professionals.
8 March-April 2024 | MJBizMagazine
Had there been more scientific
know-how in Congress, would
the loopholes that led to
the surge in hemp-derived
cannabinoids have been
identified?
One result of the Farm Bill
was a booming hemp-derived
cannabinoid market-but in
the absence of scientifically
founded regulation at the
federal level, many states have
taken it upon themselves to
prohibit delta-8 and similar
products, resulting in a confusing
patchwork of state laws.
What we have today-and
what we cover in this issue-is
mind-boggling.
Cannabis is being sold as THCA
hemp in many states where
marijuana is not yet legal, such
as Tennessee and Wisconsin. And
Texas-traditionally one of the
most marijuana-phobic states in
the U.S.-has become one of the
biggest, loosest cannabis markets
in the country. Stores in the state
sell hemp high in THCA as well
as products containing hempderived
delta-8 THC, delta-9
THC, delta-10 THC and other
hemp-derived cannabinoids
in beverages, edibles, topicals,
vape cartridges and even hemp
flower and pre-rolls, where
nonintoxicating hemp flower is
infused with intoxicating hempderived
cannabinoids.
In terms of cannabis access,
it's great. But shouldn't
consumers be able to access
cannabis because legislators
have the common sense to
legalize and regulate marijuana
rather than because of
loopholes?
It's not clear when we'll get
to a point where Congress
intelligently regulates cannabis.
Indeed, the 118th Congress
currently in session has only two
chemists, and neither chamber
has built up its scientific staff.
That should concern cannabis
industry stakeholders, given that
Congress is due to draft a new
Farm Bill, probably this year.
This time, will Congress enlist
scientific expertise? Will the new
Farm Bill shut down or regulate
the market for intoxicating
hemp-derived cannabinoids?
Will it protect consumers
through mandatory testing while
facilitating business?
These are important
questions as the hemp-derived
cannabinoid market grows
alongside regulated marijuana
markets.
In the pages ahead, some
observers predict a future where
THC products-both marijuana
and hemp-derived-are sold
under the same roof.
If that's the case, today's
conventional marijuana operators
would do well to pay attention
to the hemp-derived cannabinoid
market. Starting now.
Omar Sacirbey is the
editor of MJBizMagazine.
You can reach him
at omar.sacirbey@
mjbizdaily.com.

MJBiz - March/April 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBiz - March/April 2024

MJBiz - March/April 2024 - Cover1
MJBiz - March/April 2024 - Cover2
MJBiz - March/April 2024 - 3
MJBiz - March/April 2024 - 4
MJBiz - March/April 2024 - 5
MJBiz - March/April 2024 - 6
MJBiz - March/April 2024 - 7
MJBiz - March/April 2024 - 8
MJBiz - March/April 2024 - 9
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MJBiz - March/April 2024 - 11
MJBiz - March/April 2024 - 12
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MJBiz - March/April 2024 - Cover3
MJBiz - March/April 2024 - Cover4
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